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Poetry formatting hell! Please help

  1. I'm having enormous difficulty formatting poetry in my new blog, specifically with line breaks and word spacing.

    I have read and followed the instructions in null

    But if I'm in the Visual editor using shift+return does NOT give me a line break, nor can I get it to do multiple line breaks. When I preview the post the format is completely unchanged, and so is the published post.

    The only way I can get line breaks is to use the text editor, but then if I go back to the visual editor all that formatting disappears.

    Similarly, if I want word spacing I have to do it in the text editor, and again it disappears when I go to the visual editor.

    And if I try to edit a post I've published all the formatting disappears.

    What am I doing wrong?

    BTW I'm using the Motion by volcanic theme. the address is

    The blog I need help with is poetwhosometimesdrinks.wordpress.com.

  2. The information linked to below may help you:

    (2) If you are working in the Visual editor, to get single spacing between paragraphs hold the SHIFT key down and simultaneously click ENTER at the end of the paragraph. If you are working in the HTML editor, a single click of ENTER will give you a single-spaced line, and two clicks of ENTER will result in double spaced lines. http://onecoolsitebloggingtips.com/2011/09/13/wordpress-formatting-and-spacing/

    http://en.support.wordpress.com/writing-and-formatting-poetry/

  3. 1) In the Visual editor, pressing shift-return should give you a line break, and pressing return should give you a paragraph break (blank line between paragraphs). Please link to a post you're having problems with so we can check what's preventing this from working.

    2) The web standard is one blank line only, so you cannot add more blank lines by pressing return repeatedly like you would do with a typewriter or in a word processing application. For extra space you need appropriate coding in the HTML editor, i.e. adding padding or margin to your paragraph(s). See here:
    http://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2009/06/10/formatting-text-pt-1/

    3) What exactly do you mean by "word spacing"?

  4. Thanks Timethief - I misunderstood the original instructions in http://en.support.wordpress.com/writing-and-formatting-poetry/

    OK, I think I've found the problem.

    I've been copying my poems from Word documents (using the "Paste from Word" function). This automatically inserts a blank line between each line of the poem. So the shift+Return doesn't help since the blank line is already there. It just adds an EXTRA blank line.

    Instead what I have to do is back space to get rid of that blank line. This puts both the lines of text on the same line, with the cursor between the two lines.

    Then when I hit shift+Return I get the line spacing I want. It seems a kludgy way to do it, but at least it works far better than what I've been doing so far.

    justpi - by "word spacing" I mean what's in http://en.support.wordpress.com/writing-and-formatting-poetry/ under "Word spacing". This bit:

    "Sometimes you want to add extra spaces before certain lines, or between words, to illustrate the form and structure. The Visual Editor will ignore extra spaces if you just hit the Space key a few times, but there’s an easy way to force it to preserve your spaces exactly as you type them."

    Which is fine - I can use preformatted style to do it, but with this particular theme preformatting changes both the font size and style, so I'll have to fix that with HTML in the Text Editor which is going to be a pain, but possibly not as much of a pain as what I've been doing so far.

    I'll just have to try it out and see.

    Thanks for both of your help on this!

  5. Microsoft WORD is not now nor has it ever been web compliant. Have you read this? http://en.support.wordpress.com/microsoft-word/#using-word-cleanly

  6. You're welcome.

    a) Never copypaste from Word or other sources into the Visual editor: it introduces bad code that messes things up, as you found out. When you have to copypaste, paste into the Text editor (formerly "HTML"), so that only the text will be pasted.

    b) That's not really word spacing. Anyway, the "preformatted" style is an obviously bad solution. See here instead, under "Single line indents":
    http://wpbtips.wordpress.com/2009/06/19/formatting-text-pt-2/

  7. timethief - thanks, yes, I know about Word - that's why I said I had been using the "Paste from Word" function. I didn't mean I was just cutting and pasting from Word - I know that's a no-no. I mean the button in the New Post header in the Dashboard. It sure beats having to type everything in by hand. And yes, I have read that http://en.support.wordpress.com/microsoft-word/#using-word-cleanly. That's where learnt about using the Paste from Word button.

    justpi - the advantage for me of using the "Paste from Word" function is that it clears out all the extraneous information from Word, but it maintains much of the layout etc - this saves me lots more time than using your method of posting into the Text editor, then recreating the formatting I've slaved over when actually writing the poems.

    Re "word spacing": well it may not be "really" word spacing, but that's what they call it in the WordPress Support article I quoted earlier http://en.support.wordpress.com/writing-and-formatting-poetry/ and that's good enough for me. Really what I've been doing is Line Indents, and so far that's all I've needed.

    What I've been doing to get the line indents I need is pretty similar to what that article you cited suggests: I just use the "Indent function" in the Visual editor, and then switch to the text editor and change the pixels in the padding-left HTML until it looks right.

    Thanks for all your help, both of you - I think I've got what I need now. BTW, I'm not a total WordPress newb - I've been using it now for 8 months for my business website and its associated blog (under a different user name). It's just that I AM a total newb to using it for poetry, and the formatting conventions are so different that it totally threw me.

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